The picturesque village of Bray set into the banks of the Thames is only around 30 miles from London, but it feels worlds away in terms of the gently-paced lifestyle, bucolic ambience, and friendly demeanor of the locals. Despite its diminutive size and unpretentious atmosphere, Bray is home to some of the finest cuisine in the whole of the United Kingdom.
Highly lauded chef and restaurateur Heston Blumenthal runs three excellent establishments here: The Fat Duck (one of only four 3-Michelen-starred restaurants in the UK), The Hinds Head, and The Crown at Bray. Set in a sixteenth century inn with cozy low-beamed ceilings and fires crackling in the hearths in the cooler months and a lovely sun-dappled courtyard for warm afternoons, The Crown represents the best of the traditional British pub—welcoming upon entrance, and with a helpful, well-versed, and friendly staff to convince one to settle in, order another pint, and relax for a few hours.
The fish and chips, halibut delicately battered in an ultra-light beer batter and served over crushed peas with fresh mint and a housemade Tartar, is lauded as one of the best in the country. Well-executed vegetable sides like the glazed carrots or green beans with mustard cream complement the classic meat and seafood mains, while any dessert labelled with the words “Guiness Ice Cream” is all but impossible to ignore. Stop in for a pint or stay for a meal, and experience small town British hospitality at its best.